notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Being Read

Last week I learned that there is a very fine line between resonating with folks and touching a nerve.

My essay about judging your kids caused quite an uproar.

Interesting to me was the difference in reaction depending on the source of the reader.

The people who read my blog on The Huffington Post were overwhelmingly negative. It seems that The HuffPost reader is a tad sensitive on whether I have the right to judge their kids (and their parenting) – without children of my own. Which actually was the whole point. I don’t think it’s fair to exclude me from commenting on how your children behave – when they are behaving in my presence. Or to say that I know nothing about parenting since I do not have children of my own.

No, I don’t have children. I am sorry that I don’t. I wish I did. You don’t always get everything you want in life. So I have to make do with enjoying and loving your children.

And I do.

But I also think that many kids could benefit from a more strenuous instruction in and enforcement of good manners.

But that doesn’t mean I hate kids. Or expect them to be perfect. For the last 40 years, I’ve had nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews, and I’ve seen my friends’ children grow up and have children of their own.

I know that all kids can be both little angels and little demons – often within the same minute. I also know that it’s difficult to be a good parent, and most folks are just doing the best they can. My sister-in-law commented that during the kindergarten years she wasn’t too concerned about whether her kids were hitting their classmates – she was just happy they weren’t biting their classmates.

I didn’t think I was nasty in my essay. I thought I was rather understanding. But hundreds of folks over at the Huffington Post thought I was an evil, rotten monster-bitch to even suggest that, overall, kids should behave. One even found my Facebook Author Page and called me some vile names. Now HuffPost is an open forum, and people can say whatever they wish. But my Facebook page is MY page. I require civility.

On the upside, the response may have been overwhelmingly negative, but then again, it was also just plain overwhelming. People read what I wrote. I’m a writer. I got read. Doesn’t get much better than that.

But actually, it does.

Because you amazing people who read my blog were overwhelmingly positive.

I believe the difference between your reaction and the Huffington reaction is that you KNOW me. You’ve read a few of my essays; you see that I am not a mean person. I’m a kind person. I look for the best in human beings. And I find it. Always.

Some people (including the special one I live with) tell me that I am naive. That I can be oblivious to the awful people and the horrible dangers that constantly surround me.

But I’m not naive. I understand that not everyone is benevolent.

But most people are.

Good people are everywhere. And if I concentrate on good people, it helps me be a good person too.

I believe I am a happier person than those who look for the worst in humanity. And why wouldn’t I want to be happy?

Thank you, good friends, for understanding me.

dancingdevil

 

 

 

62 Comments

  1. sassycoupleok

    The fact is, there is a lot of bad parenting these days and those children think they are so entitled to having everything their way. Sadly for them when they reach adulthood they will not be able to cope with the demands and failures in the adult world.

    Like

    • I do see that lots of kids don’t seem to have much self-control. That will hurt them so much as adults.

      Like

  2. Like I said in my comment on your original post, it takes a village. Unfortunately, some of the villagers are idiots.

    Like

  3. I’m part of the problem. Growing up poor in foster care, I sought to give my children every conceivable advantage and in the process, two out of three kids reached adulthood with an air of entitlement. One of those is trying to do everything for her kids that I did for her and then some. As a result, two out of three of her kids are rapacious and undisciplined. Wish I had all the answers.

    Like

    • As I wrote in my article, I think it’s critical that kids learn how to lose with grace. And NOT get everything they want.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. shewasthenaz

    That’s hilarious that there is a marked difference in reponses depending on where people find you.

    Congratulations. That’s an accomplishment.

    Like

    • Thanks. I guess it shows that I have a diverse audience… at least for that article.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Deb

    I don’t remember if I commented last time about this post, but geez, why do people take things so seriously and seem to go out of their way to be offended. You don’t have kids, but does that mean you can’t have opinions. It’s like saying to someone, “you don’t drive so you can’t begin to speak on following common road rules or criticize my driving when I ‘accidently’ almost mow you down in the crosswalk because I was texting on my cell phone.”

    I do have kids, but even if I didn’t I would judge other peoples kids, especially the ones who cannot begin to act in an age appropriate manner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was also surprised at the intensity of the opinions.

      Like

  6. Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

    Like

  7. As my father used to say, “Who cares what they say about you, as long as they spell your name right.” As they say in Hollywood, “There’s no such thing as bad press.” Celebrate!

    Like

    • That’s what I focused on. The traffic to my blog was ten times my usual number … and although many were nasty and angry, there were quite a few who liked at, and I gained dozens of new followers to my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Aliceyn

    I LOVED your article…as a first grade teacher I would have liked to email it to all the parents in my classroom. As a result of reading it on Huffington, I found you 😃

    Like

    • Well, thanks. It was very sweet and satisfying that I did have several strangers stand up for me. And I gained several new readers. I’m glad you’re one of them.

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  9. Meghan

    I started to follow you too after reading that post. I thought your assessment was spot on! Our eldest is two and when we eat out, she already attempts to mimic our behavior. She wants a napkin for her lap and is a bit put out that she isn’t allowed to manage her Butter knife just yet. She mimics our thank yous and how we smile at those that are kindly waiting on us.

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    • Thanks – there were some very positive responses too on Huffington Post – just outnumbered by the outraged folks. I’ve seen some terrific and sweet behavior by kids in restaurants – and I make it a point to go up and tell their parents how impressed I am.

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  10. I loved your article about judging kids.
    I hate that people with kids assume I don’t know anything about kids just because I don’t have them (I also wish I had them, but I don’t).

    It was only few days ago when I met my best girl-friend, she was with her son, aged 10. The boy got bored after three minutes and said to his mother “Let’s go”. The mother didn’t obey immediately, so he hit her quite hard on her arm and yelled “Let’s go”.

    My friend stopped talking to me, said “Bye bye” to me and followed the son.

    I couldn’t believe my eyes. She didn’t say anything to him.

    I know I should keep my mouth shut, but I just couldn’t.
    I told the boy that I am not allowing that he hits my best friend.

    ***
    I just can’t understand the new permissive upbringing that many parents nowadays have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s rotten. NO kid over three should ever hit his parent. And NO parent should ever allow it.

      Like

  11. I don’t have kids either, and one thing I can’t tolerate is brats screaming because they don’t get their own way. It’s different if they’re not feeling well, or have taken a fall and hurt themselves, but because they don’t get a chocolate bar/sweets etc? Nope. Don’t want to know. I had foster kids (OK, all teenagers bar two who were emergency placements) but they knew how to behave having been warned beforehand what was expected and what would happen (no pocket money) if they didn’t. I am not impressed with some of my family members, or their offspring. So does that make me a bad person?
    I like kids, and have come across many that are really sweet and it’s a pleasure to be in their company. I love to hear their natural giggles as they play, laugh out loud at some of their antics, and get all soppy when they make a fuss of Maggie. But it does come down to parenting, and for those I know who have given into their brats to keep the peace, they are just rewarding bad behaviour, which simply generates more. 😦

    Like

    • I think something my dog trainer told me about my puppy makes sense for kids too. She said, “He wants to be a good boy. But he has no idea what you want.” Kids need guidance and clear language… just like puppies!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Now my son is 5 he is more than capable of knowing how to behave and when. However on the odd occasion when he forgets, I cannot abide it because in my head I am still the single 38 year old child-free person sitting in the café or restaurant being irritated by it. If children don’t know how to behave in such places, they shouldn’t be taken there. It’s a huge problem here in London, I even see calls for ‘child-free’ restaurants and that seems fair enough. Let’s just discipline our children People!

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    • All kids can have a bad moment. But they shouldn’t be allowed to let their bad behavior become the norm.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Wasn’t it Eleanor Roosevelt who said “What other people think of you is none of your business?” There are a lot of ‘trolls’ out there on the World Wide Web who do nothing but trash what other people say (I’ve stopped reading Comments on news sites, etc. because its just so depressing that people don’t really READ the article, they just rant about how ‘wrong’ someone else’s view of a subject is). The original premise of social media open posting options was to engage readers in a ‘conversation’ – but most of the people who make negative comments about reasoned ‘arguments’ such as yours just want to be mean and nasty (and ‘heard’). Ignore them. You were spot on.

    Like

    • What rather surprised me was they felt I had no right to judge their kids… but they had every right to judge me.

      Like

  14. As a retired teacher, I can tell you that parents who are so permissive with their children are doing them no favours.

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    • I agree. I know it’s hard not to spoil your kids, but you want them to be well-adjusted adults, don’t you?

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  15. BnB

    I stumbled across your article on Huff Post and then a friend directed me to another post and I must say that I love your writing and will go back and read your entire blog when I get some free time (hahahahahaha).

    It seems like most adults of child rearing age are incapable of entertaining thoughts, views, perspectives from anyone but themselves. This makes me fear for the next generation. I also work with college kids, and from where I’m sitting, it looks like we’re screwed.

    Anyway, ignore the haters and continue to let your light shine.

    Like

    • Thanks. Maybe I am just being defensive, but I think the commenters who screamed the loudest were the ones who most needed to be told.

      Like

  16. Ray G

    Don’t be too surprised if all that negative reaction gets you an invite to a TV morning talk show. The publicity could be good.

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    • Television? I would freeze like an idiot…

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      • Ray G

        Maybe, but what an opportunity to use make-up.

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  17. Good on you! I read your article and totally agree with everything!

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  18. The reason it caused such an uproar is because it hit too close to home. How dare someone have realistic expectations of a child?! HOW DARE THEY?! I have three kids, AND I teach grades K-8. I agreed with almost all of your points.

    Kids don’t learn manners by accident. It involves actual work. There’s no “they’ll understand not to interrupt by the time they’re six” without someone teaching them to wait. It’s like some parents think that manners and maturity are absorbed by osmosis rather than proper home-training. There’s no excuse for rude children. Whiny children maybe – sick, tired, hungry, but rude? Not even a little bit.

    Like

    • I agree! I will readily give kids a break who are having a bad moment… but consistently rude? I know a couple of kids who are very rude – much of the time – and I can see that they have no good example to follow. Mom’s rude too.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I thought your piece was beautifully reasoned. Sure everyone has their own experiences and some might take issue with some behaviours or be tougher on others. These are just opinions and entirely valid. After all you need to be a damn sight more opinionated and extreme to stand a chance of running for President…

    Like

    • It’s funny, because a good friend said that if I want to really increase my readership, I should be MORE controversial. The problem is – I’m not really controversial at all. I come from a long line of not-boat-rockers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Susan

        I don’t think what you wrote was “controversial” at all – it was truth, and some people, although they may see the truth – don’t like it when it’s pointed I their direction. Our family may have been non-boat-rockers, but we were all brought up to respect other people and their choices. It’s just the way it was – we had amazing role models, and not just our own parents.

        Like

      • Nah you’re just a good read! And an honest appraisal isn’t controversial. Or if it is en keep going and f*** ’em.

        Like

  20. You won’t hear me complaining about your piece. I thought it was spot on and I have three children. I passed it along to someone who does not have children and won’t be having children – and she wholeheartedly agreed with you. She’s 40 years old.

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    • Thanks, Boomer. I’m seeing that lots of people agree with me, and i feel much better.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Screaming (rude) parents tend to breed screaming (rude) kids. I’m shocked! Shocked! How dare you point out that there is a cause and effect in all of this courtesy smertesy.

    Like

    • Those are the parents who NEVER recognize themselves in what I write.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Or in what anybody says!

        Like

  22. Linda Careaga

    I found you through your article about children’s behavior on Huff Post but unlike the mean responses, I thought you were spot on. I am a mother of two, grandmother of three and the rules of behavior I set for them match your suggestions. I frequently see children misbehaving in public and wonder who raised them. I was a single mother and my children had no grandparents from my side of the family to help out but I still managed to raise them right. They went through a stage of misbehaving at restaurants so I told them no more eating out until they learned to behave. We didn’t eat out for a year but they learned to be polite and well behaved in restaurants and stores. I’m glad I found you because I am enjoying your blog!

    Like

    • It’s so nice to see that the Huffington Post brought you to my blog! I love HuffPost, but sometimes their readers are SO serious and hostile.

      Like

  23. Good that you may share your thoughts. Like it was yesterday, I remember those horrible moments I could scarcely believe were unfolding at age 4. The kid in a toy store, on the floor screaming to be given some worthless toy. Now I may have grown up a little rough on the edges, but to this day I wonder what would have happened if I could have hissed in his ear. Hey, stupid —-, do you think your Mom will ever bring you out in public again? Wake up!

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  24. I saw your essay on HuffPo via Facebook, & followed you over here. 🙂 I am likewise childless, not by first choice, and have appreciated your recent pieces related to the subject.

    I noticed an article in the Washington Post in the last few days, written by a childless-not-by-choice woman about how she found healing in caring for her aging parents & now her dog. It was a beautiful, poignant essay. The comments on the Post’s FB page were a zoo — all sorts of arguments & name calling among the commenters, and “why not adopt?” comments that make you wonder whether people actually read these pieces before they comment on them. The comments online with the actual essay, however, were fairly kind and empathetic (at least, when I saw them they were…!) — perhaps because the author was responding to many of them? I found that kind of interesting, even before I read this post of yours. 🙂 Anyway, I am glad to have found your blog & look forward to reading more!

    Like

  25. I find a good deal of the nastier HuffPo readers can be sorted into two piles: those who don’t read anything but the title, and those who have developed the remarkable supernatural ability of being able to somehow read things the author never actually wrote!

    Both piles, I am sorry to say, have a terrible habit of taking wrong turns at Knee-Jerk Reaction Junction during their race to the comments section.

    Like

  26. Dana

    I laughed inappropriately at this; a kid was running around the laundromat, screaming for no reason, and a 20something woman held out a plastic bag to him, and said “Here, you can use this as a toy!”

    Don’t worry, the kid ignored her.

    🙂

    Like

  27. Nancy, I’ve been astounded at the meanness of HP comments. I compare it to being in the open ocean vs. our nice little blog pond of family, friends and readers. You were right to say how you felt. There’s nothing wrong there. Just consider the source. And yes, at the end of the day you were in the HP and were read by many. Its a feather in your cap.

    Like

  28. How hilarious there’s such a wide range of reactions depending on where the readers found it.
    People hate to see themselves in the mirror. So good for you telling them “the emperor had no clothes” sort of thing.
    And as someone said above – as long as they are talking about you, it’s good!

    Like

  29. so true, you are completely right

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  30. Its all about respect. As a parent I have always taught my children to respect others, but more importantly, to respect themselves. They are caring people but because they also care about themselves they refuse to allow negative people to affect them ….. they walk away. There are far too many disrespectful people in the World today, both adult and child. The adults are raising their children to be just like them, and it is a spreading disease …..

    Like

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